Tangles and twinings

The grass by the river bank is long and lush. Where they mowed the paths to the fishing beats a week ago there are now two good inches of springy turf underfoot and to either side the sward is long enough to hide a woolly dog. The heaps of mown grass have “matured” and Lyra is in seventh heaven, diving and rolling, emerging speckled with suspicious black patches.

Stitchwort is woven in starry spangles through the long grass and enticing scatter cushions of cats eye blue and crosswort custard are strewn here and there, inviting lounging bees and darting orange tipped butterflies. Intricate tangles of vetch are starting to creep across the path and ground ivy has abandoned its usually shady places and is shamelessly colonising the sunny side of the track. As Lyra thunders past, off for a paddle, oval planets of plantain nod heavily, shaking their satellites of creamy seeds at the swirling silverweed. In stark contrast to this paisley profusion, corrugations of potato shaw stand saw tooth sharp against Mondrian blocks of oilseed rape.

We take the shady route back, admiring the translucent glow of welsh poppies against the wall and a soft pink haze of purslane under the trees. A wisp of swansdown caught lightly on the stinging tips of nettles seems almost poetic.

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